Introduction

  • Michail S. Davidoff
  • Ralf Middendorff
  • Dieter Müller
  • Adolf F. Holstein
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Anatomy, Embryology and Cell Biology book series (ADVSANAT, volume 205)

Abstract

The Leydig cells of the testis were discovered more than 150 years ago, and 100 years later these cells were characterized as endocrine cells, which represent the main source of androgens. Androgens (testosterone and its metabolites) are of special importance for the development of the male reproductive tract, the development of male germ cells, the emergence of male secondary sex ­characteristics, the establishment of the hypothalamus-hypophysis-testis axis as well as the development of a male-specific structural differentiation of the brain. The idea of Leydig cells as endocrine cells has been the leading characteristic of this interesting cell population until now.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michail S. Davidoff
    • 1
  • Ralf Middendorff
    • 2
  • Dieter Müller
    • 2
  • Adolf F. Holstein
    • 1
  1. 1.University Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfInstitute of Anatomy Erika HausHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Justus-Liebig-UniversityInstitute of Anatomy and Cell BiologyGiessenGermany

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